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View Poll Results: What engine instruments do you have?
Fuel Level 73 52.52%
Fuel Pressure 17 12.23%
Filter Vacuum 1 0.72%
Tank Vacuum 1 0.72%
Volts 66 47.48%
Amps 96 69.06%
Oil Pressure 135 97.12%
Oil Temp 7 5.04%
Water Temp 130 93.53%
Water Pressure 6 4.32%
Tachometer 87 62.59%
Manifold Vacuum 10 7.19%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 139. You may not vote on this poll

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  #51   IP: 184.151.127.169
Old 09-03-2011, 06:46 AM
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So the GPS vs sextant debate finally found its way onto the peaceful A4 forums. Although a GPS receiver is not among the poll choices, it probably should be. GPS plays a role in calculating fuel consumption and remaining, for example.

My take, much honed after years of debate on this point and teaching navigation: GPS (or one of the other electronic satellite navigation positioning systems) is our primary positioning tool now in both coastal and offshore navigation, but the great navigation luxury in our electronic age is the ability to have a completely independent backup positioning system. GPS can fail, either on board or in the system outside the boat. Near shore, ability to do positioning with a hand-bearing magnetic compass, sounder and dead reckoning works fine. Offshore, the only practical independent backup solution for a recreational boater is celestial navigation. So I agree fully with those posters who use GPS primarily, but intend to learn CN for offshore backup.

A sextant is a fine way to snap bearings in coastal navigation, but a handheld compass is a more practical solution for manual positioning in the rare event of GPS failure, or to check a GPS positioning in tight quarters near hazards. Using a sextant for horizontal and vertical angles near shore takes a lot of practice and requires a 3-legged protractor.

One big advantage of taking a celestial navigation course like the USPS Junior Navigator/Navigator package is better understanding of navigation and positioning generally: it is not all about the sextant, athough that's the main content. Even if graduates never need celestial navigation in real life, the discipline and knowledge learned for general navigation can pay dividends. GPS merely automates (and hides under the hood) the same mathematics used in celestial navigation, except using man-made satellites instead of natural celestial bodies.


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Originally Posted by Gordo View Post
there is NO VERIFIED CASE where the GPS system gave bad info.
Depends what one means by bad info I guess, but there are many well documented examples. Fortunately they are infrequent, but the results have been spectacular in some cases, minor and easily recoverable in others. Like the day we were steaming along a river in the US and the chartplotter went blank because the electonic chart was missing that sector of the river for half a mile. The e-chart was white with black crosses. And cases in the Caribbean where GPS positions did not match the chart owing to datum differences.
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Last edited by rigspelt; 10-06-2011 at 05:50 AM.
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  #52   IP: 68.126.199.192
Old 09-03-2011, 06:38 PM
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Rigspelt, I agree. Everything at sea, or in the air, needs a back up. I don't sail with a spinnaker, so I rigged my spinnaker pole so it can be used as a makshift mast.
I love the sea, and I fear it. I do my "Just what if?" thinking along side the dock. If the, "Just what if?" happens at sea...my back up is ready.
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  #53   IP: 70.177.229.241
Old 09-13-2011, 02:55 AM
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hehe. What instruments do I have, or what instruments do I have...that work?
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  #54   IP: 148.170.241.1
Old 09-13-2011, 09:24 AM
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Hehe! Good point!

My boat "has" a knotmeter. Well, it has a round thing in the bulkhead with a cracked piece of glass or plastic in it, with a round black surface behind it with numbers and and a pointer on it. The pointer never moves. It might as well be painted on.

I plan on replacing it with a speaker for to listen to some tunage whilst sailing.
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  #55   IP: 24.224.206.117
Old 09-13-2011, 02:43 PM
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Smile

Exactly what I did Bill, I use my speed reading off the chartplotter. I don't have significant current here so it really makes no difference. Also have speakers in the cabin bulkhead in replacement.

I will say buy decent speaker though as mine are garbage and I actually use my satellite radio / boombox thing from inside the cabin...certainly puts out much better sound than the stereo /speakers. That was a waste of money. The stereo CD can't take the constant motion either - the CD lasted about a month...so it's an all an ornament although the radio works.
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  #56   IP: 98.237.173.224
Old 11-15-2011, 12:29 PM
Chris T Chris T is offline
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Busted fuel guage?

To check on fuel level, try using a studsensor???? I use
this to monitor fuel tank and holding tank.....
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  #57   IP: 24.224.206.117
Old 11-15-2011, 12:57 PM
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Chris,
How does that work...fill me in please when you get a chance.

Tks
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The pessimist complains about the wind.
The optimist expects it to change.
The realist adjusts the sails.
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  #58   IP: 148.170.241.1
Old 11-15-2011, 01:12 PM
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Depends on the stud sensor and how easily you can access your tank from the outside.

I have an ultrasonic stud sensor, which detects changes in density - it sends an ultrasonic signal through the sheetrock, and as you slide it across the wall, when the sound bounces back off of a stud, instead of empty air space, it beeps and lights up.

I could see applying it to the outside of the fuel tank and sliding it up and down until it encounters the fuel. Start at the top of the tank and slide downwards - when it encounters the fuel, it will detect the change in density because the sound waves will bounce back rather than going into the empty space.

Not very practical in my case, being that the fuel tank is under the cockpit and not very easily accessible.

I have made myself a nice black walnut stick, on which I have marked 1/4-tank increments.
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  #59   IP: 161.213.49.1
Old 11-15-2011, 02:44 PM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is offline
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The other part of this equation is how much fuel is useful because of the dead space. If you have 10 gallons in the tank can you pump 10 gallons out when the boat is heeling and or rolling in a seaway? I doubt it.

TRUE GRIT

Last edited by JOHN COOKSON; 11-15-2011 at 03:25 PM.
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  #60   IP: 75.48.78.31
Old 09-02-2013, 02:48 PM
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A hammer. I have a hammer because I’m Italian. If things like starters freeze up, we just give it a wack with our hammer. Wacking things is sometimes the only solution to a problem. Besides, if you can’t fix something, a good wack makes you feel good.

A folding bucket. I also have a folding bucket. Folding buckets are good for bailing when you have a big hole in your hull…you can also use the bucket as a water closet when your holding tank is full. Just line it with a small plastic bag. Tie the top when your done, and deep six it at night.

An Italian flag. This warns other boaters your little ship is underway, and there possibly is nobody on deck. After all, love, and wine are a part of how we Italians sail.

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  #61   IP: 72.45.14.161
Old 09-02-2013, 05:28 PM
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Wow - this poll is three years old. Still wondering at the engines that seem to have ONLY an oil pressure gauge
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  #62   IP: 71.200.116.197
Old 09-06-2016, 04:28 PM
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triton gauges

the Triton has water temp, oil pressure and volts. as the refit continues, I will add engine hour meter, tach fuel pressure and fuel gauges.

James
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  #63   IP: 98.226.209.168
Old 09-06-2016, 10:04 PM
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Question Is there a way to see or update my reply?

I have added some instruments and I seem not to be able to change my initial reply to this poll, or know how I "voted". Yes, I am from Chicago and we all know Chicagoans are known for voting "early and often" --well, not really--just want to change my vote. Is there a way here?

Mary
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  #64   IP: 24.145.95.200
Old 09-07-2016, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HOTFLASH View Post
I have added some instruments and I seem not to be able to change my initial reply to this poll, or know how I "voted". Yes, I am from Chicago and we all know Chicagoans are known for voting "early and often" --well, not really--just want to change my vote. Is there a way here?

Mary
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If you tell me what you want added/subtracted, I think I can manually edit the totals.

Bill
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  #65   IP: 137.200.32.6
Old 09-07-2016, 05:39 PM
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I still seem to have the only fuel filter vacuum gauge. I know mostly diesels use these, but you can find problems that otherwise would drive you insane
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  #66   IP: 172.250.158.136
Old 09-07-2016, 08:45 PM
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All new wires under this bad boy also!!

I actually just finished rewiring my A4 this week and ran all the wires to the helm where I built a nice instrument cluster and cup/wine bottle holder.
I also have a volt/amp meter on my electric panel in the cabin so I can see exactly what I am drawing with each item I am using.

Last edited by Flyingmike; 09-07-2016 at 10:29 PM.
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  #67   IP: 76.179.157.47
Old 09-07-2016, 09:52 PM
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Until I voted a few days ago, I was surprised to see more manifold vacuum than fuel pressure.
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  #68   IP: 172.250.158.136
Old 09-07-2016, 10:23 PM
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Here is a pic of my old wire harness that I replaced this last week. It was melted but it still worked.

Last edited by Flyingmike; 09-07-2016 at 10:29 PM.
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  #69   IP: 206.125.176.3
Old 09-08-2016, 04:23 PM
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Mary, The options in intalic represent the ones you selected.

Mine is out of date too, I now have (or had at one time) both fuel pressure and vacuum, but I didn't when I voted..I also don't have an ammeter on the motor panel, but I do have one on the boat panel.
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  #70   IP: 99.30.185.198
Old 09-09-2016, 09:31 PM
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"What kind of gauges do you have, and why?"

Recently, while doing an engine re-wire and gauge replacement on my A4, I tried to figure out what the most important units to install were. The first three were pretty easy, Oil pressure, water temp and voltage, which tell us the "vitals" of the important systems. The fourth, a vaccum gauge, tells us something different. A vaccum gauge gives us an idea of how hard our engine is working or how efficiently it is performing. While motoring around the harbor, I rely on my GPS to keep me within the speed limits, motoring in an open waterway is another story. Depending on sea and wind conditions, along with hull speed numbers, the best way to figure out how efficiently we are making progress, is with the use of a vaccum gauge. If, for instance, we are motoring along at 6 kts, at 10 inches of vaccum and a headwind picks up, we can either leave the throttle alone and slow down, or increase the throttle, to maintain our speed, and watch the vaccum decrease. The higher we can keep the the vaccum, the better our fuel mileage will be. I tend to be a "seat of the pants" type of sailor who lets the wind and water conditions dictate my direction and speed. Using a vaccum guage is an appropriate tool in that endeavor.
Tom
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  #71   IP: 71.118.13.238
Old 09-13-2016, 01:31 PM
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Ah the vacuum gage, the only way to measure the load on the manifold or how hard it is working to feed the engine under a load.

Another good thing is tracking performance IE lets take calm conditions and a load of 10" of vac. Now lets say that when clean we get 5.5 kts @1600 rpms@ 10" in calm water! Now we go out another time in calm water and it takes 8" of vac to get the same 5.5 kts @ 1750 rpms, what happened? Dirty prop, dirty bottom or an engine issue. The gage and monitoring it can track performance far better than just a tach which only gives RPM's not load.

Dave Neptune
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  #72   IP: 67.237.237.64
Old 09-13-2016, 01:51 PM
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Rats. How did you guys know I was just about to order new gauges? Oh well, I guess I can eat Ramen for another week.
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  #73   IP: 207.118.0.119
Old 09-13-2016, 03:20 PM
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yes to a vacuum gauge

I find the vacuum gauge to be very useful, too. When I retarded the timing while running at cruise speed under load, the rpm went up, but the vacuum stayed the same. At 10" vacuum, rpm changed from 1500 to 1700. The engine sounded throatier. After this spring's haul-out and new bottom paint, speed at 10" changed from 5.5 to 6 knots. I could get 6.25 knots at 7 or 8", 2000 rpm. The little extra speed was not worth the increased load on the engine.
It's a good feeling to know when your engine is not working as hard at the same speed, and that mileage has improved. Looking at the tachometer, the knotmeter, and the vacuum gauge relative to each other can tell you a lot.
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  #74   IP: 137.200.32.22
Old 09-13-2016, 04:55 PM
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Very true. When I had 5" at about 1600 RPM for 4.9 knots, I knew the bottom or prop was fouled.
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  #75   IP: 99.30.185.198
Old 09-13-2016, 05:13 PM
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A vacuum gauge could be considered as "looking into the lungs" of an engine.
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